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Spy or Die Trying» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My thoughts after 3 games rss

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Paul Wadsworth
United Kingdom
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Theme
60s/70s Spy Thriller, more James Bond than Austin Powers, but there are definite Powers references.
1 Player plays an Villain in charge a base, the other players play as Spies need to get into the base, grab enough Intelligence, and get out, all in 60 minutes. The game isn't played in Real Time, but each Villain turn takes a minute off the timer, and the Spies can spend time to automatically succeed actions. The Villain also has a mechanic to take time off in 10 minute blocks by completing parts of a doomsday weapon.

Components
Being a game I backed on Kickstarter, I knew everything would be "acceptable" but was worried it would be the lower end of acceptable.
The pieces are good, a great colour coded choice makes it easy to get everything sorted to where it needs to be, none of them are small, fiddly and easy to lose so that's obviously a plus.
Found the board itself to be good quality, and don't expect it to fade or break any time soon, the art on the board is great and looks realistic, and we all enjoyed finding a certain addition to the guard room.
I think a reference sheet for each player would have been good, but unfortunately isn't included.

Rules
With a good 15/20 possible actions for each player it ment lots of checking the rulebook to check and double check what needed doing and what might happen. I see this as a plus, since complexity and lots of options are something I look for in a game. This does mean however I'm still not 100% on the rules after 3 games.
Minions are next to useless, and getting used to that fact takes a while.
The villain has very little control during a green alert, and that takes a while to get used to.
If the spies take their time to get through the base they will slowly rack up alerts, which the villain needs to spend wisely. The beginning of the game feels more like a chess type game of out manoeuvring the other side, but later on it switches to very action packed.
Minions only succeed actions on a roll of 6 on a 6 sided dice, which fits the theme of them being quite inept and expendable, but it only takes a couple of 6's here and there for the Spies plans to fall apart.
Most actions have a roll to succeed (4+ for Spies) or you can take your time, which usually costs 2 minutes time minus the number of successes you can get on 2 dice. Although some actions can't be rushed, and some you can't take time on.

Goal
Each spy can carry 3 pieces of intelligence, each intelligence has a country (UK, US, and Soviet) and a colour (Red, Yellow, Blue) if the spies manage to get out of the base in the 60 minutes you need to combine the intelligence you've got to get enough points to win, usually by getting at least 1 combo of 3 of the same country or colour.

Spies
There are 3 spies to play as, matching the 3 countries of the intelligence. The spies are exactly the same, apart from 3 "Talents" they have to pick one from, each of these talents lets you succeed on a type of action on a 3+ instead of 4+, and gives you a little additional bonus, an example is a talent that lets you unlock doors on a 3+, and lets you take a space of movement for free after unlocking a door.
Essentially this means 1 spy is more stealth focused, 1 more combat focused, and the third is more utility.

Customisation
With additional pieces, and the talent system as it is, I see this game being easily customised, even a 5th or 6th player being possible just by using some of the talents since in a full 4 player game you're only using 3 out of 9.
You could start with each of the 3 spies having all 3 talents, and additional guards in the base for example.
In 1 game we had we jokingly put an Engineer in one of the cells, theorising in a future game that engineer could give additional intelligence, let us destroy the doomsday weapon, or anything really.
It also seemed entirely possible a player could play the Villain setting up his own scenario for the spies to play through, more like a roleplay game, or at least set up Warhammer Quest game.

Finally
I really enjoyed this game, and although it being new is obviously an influence I can see this being the "main" game we play out of the 20/30 games we own as a group for at least a fair few months.
The strategy and customisation adds so much replayability I doubt it will get boring quickly.

Sorry if I wrote too much or it wasn't in depth enough, or just badly written, but I figure a poor review is much better than no review!
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Lee Fisher
United States
Downingtown
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I agree with most of this after my first play. How long were your games and who won?
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Paul Wadsworth
United Kingdom
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Games were between 1:30 and 2:00 each, but with continued rule checking, I easily see this being reduced to an hour once we've got the hang of it.

Game 1 went to the Spies, and games 2 and 3 went to Villain, but we were testing a lot of stuff so I wouldn't read too much into it, but game 3 was literally a matter of if the Villain could roll 1 6 out of 4 on their turn they won, otherwise they lost.
For example, game 1 never went above a green alert, so I purposely pushed the alert to amber in game 2 where I was playing a spy, just to see how the tempo changed.
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